Despite the fact that the Democratic nominee for Mayor of New York has been chosen, our primary season is not yet over. There will be a runoff election, Tuesday Oct 1, to determine the winner of the Public Advocate’s race. The choice for progressives is a clear one: Councilmember Letitia “Tish” James.
This race has come down to two candidates: Councilmember James, who is nearly the definition of the "better" Democrat we always talk about wanting here, and State Senator Daniel Squadron, the sort of liberal who thinks charter schools are great, and who earned the endorsement of Michael Bloomberg in his last race.
Since there is no other race on the ballot, turnout will be exceedingly low, possibly as low as 5%. In such a low-turnout race, your contribution, whether as a donor, a volunteer, or a voter, has outsize impact.
Councilmember James has been a leader of the Council’s Progressive Caucus, as well as being a fearless and forthright defender of Occupy Wall Street, and a fighter for workers, women and the poor. Here is a first impression from an excellent profile by Sarah Jaffe, who also happens to be James’ constituent (h/t Laura Clawson):
I first met her—or rather, first heard her, her voice ringing over the crowd—at a rally for fast food workers after the first round of strikes last November. Before the fast food strikes became the place to be seen for liberal politicians, James was there; likewise, before Anthony Weiner and others took to marching with healthcare workers to save hospitals, James was there. In the mid-2000s, she took up the cause of Brooklyn residents displaced by the Atlantic Yards/Barclay's Center construction project and in 2011, lent her voice to the battle to remove billboards likening abortion to genocide of black babies.
Likewise, she was the first to speak out against the sale of local public library branches and the closure of community hospitals:
Her support of the battles to keep hospitals open in the city, from Long Island College Hospital near her Brooklyn district to a Labor and Delivery unit recently closed in the Bronx won her one of the first-ever endorsements from the New York State Nurses Association, whose executive director, Jill Furillo, said, “Letitia James has stood with patients and caregivers in snowstorms and heat waves to keep hospitals open for care. She has fought to protect access to quality care for New York's most vulnerable patients.”I urge you to read this piece in its entirety; it details dozens of equally important reasons for us to support Tish James, but I don't want to violate the fair-use guidelines.
Unsurprisingly, this behavior has made her some powerful enemies in the establishment; City Council President and former mayoral candidate Christine Quinn has removed her from powerful committee assignments and cut discretionary funding for her district, and her campaign is underfunded by at least 2 to 1, as the corporate elite flocks to her opponent, who is far more willing to play ball with the city’s power brokers.
But the labor movement, workers, women and people of color overwhelmingly support her. And there's more of us than there are of them: that's why, despite these disadvantages, she came in first in the primary.
Here’s what you can do to help Tish win:
• wherever you live, whether inside New York City or in another state, you can donate to her campaign. They’ve done an amazing job of stretching every penny they’ve got, which largely contributed to her first-place finish on Primary Day, but this campaign is so grass-roots it’s almost sod. Her opponent has paid workers, piles of glossy lit, buttons, stickers and custom-printed T-shirts. Tish has us.
• if you live in or near New York City, volunteer. This campaign only has 2 weeks left to run, and every hour of your time helps, whether phone banking, flyering or doorknocking. Your help is particularly needed if you can volunteer in the northern parts of the city, the Bronx, upper Manhattan, and Queens. Here is a long list of volunteering opportunities at locations all over the city. Names in parentheses are the volunteer coordinators to contact for each event; their contact information is at the end of the list.
Wednesday (today)6-8pm Park Slope Food Coop @ 782 Union St. Brooklyn, NY 11215 (Jasmin)There’s a huge womens’ rally tomorrow, Thursday, where some high-profile celebrities and leaders of the womens' movement are expected (see above for details).
Thursday (tomorrow) - Women’s Day of Action
12pm Press Conference @ City Hall Steps with Women’s Groups, Leaders and Elected Officials
5-7pm Rally for Tish @ 110th St. and Broadway (Upper West Side- 1 train at Cathedral Parkway. Transfer from the 2,3 at 96th St). (expect some high-profile womens' leaders, unannounced)
This Friday, Sept 20
9-11am Greenmarket @ West 97th St. (Kristina)
11:30am-11:30pm- San Gennaro Festival @ Little Italy, Mulberry St. (Sept 12-22 please coordinate on your own)
5-7pm Trader Joes Park Slope @ 130 Court St (Jasmin)This Saturday, Sept. 21
9-11am Grand Army Plaza Farmer’s Market (Jasmin)
8am-3pm Inwood GreenMarket @ Isham St & Seaman Ave (Cynthia, need to coordinate)
11am-1pm Greenmarket @ Union Square (Kristina)
1:30-3 Autumn Fair, B'way between Waverly & 14th St. (Kristina)
2:30-4pm, Flatbush Coop @ 1415 Cortelyou Rd, 11226 (Jasmin)
8am-4pm, Big Brothers Big Sisters Race for the Kids & Nickelodeon Worldwide Day of Play Festival @ Prospect Park (no staff- coordinate)
11am-6pm, Upper Broadway Autumn Festival (Annual Street Fair) @ Broadway between 110th st and 116th st (no staff- coordinate)
11am-6pm, Broadway Autumn Fair (Annual Street Fair) @ Broadway from Waverly to 14th St (no staff- coordinate)
12-9pm, Friends of Morningside Park Family Festival @ Morning Side Park (Morningside Heights/Harlem/Upper Upper West Side) (no staff- coordinate)
This Sunday, Sept. 22
9-11am Greenmarket @ West 79th St. (Kristina)
10am-12 2013 Walk to End Alzheimer's New York City @ Coney Island Boardwalk, 15th St. and Boardwalk (no staff, please coordinate)
10am-6pm Brooklyn Book Festival @ Borough Hall and Plaza, 209 Joralemon St. Various events (http://www.brooklynbookfestival.org/...)
12-6pm Atlantic Antic @ Atlantic Ave., DT Brooklyn Meet outside Altantic Terminal (Flatbush and Hanson Pl)- Shifts All Day.
10-12 Run 10 Feed 10, Pier 84 @ Hudson River Park (contact: Cynthia)
10am-7pm Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Flea Market and Grand Auction (Free) @ Shubert Alley and West 44th St (no staff contact- please coordinate)
11am-1pm Flea Market and 7th Avenue street fair @ PS 321 Schoolyard, 7th ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (Jasmin)
11am-2pm Park Slope Farmers Market @ 4th Street and Fifth Avenue (no staff contact- please coordinate)
1-2:30 Broadway Cares Flea Market, Shubert Alley & West 44th (no staff contact- please coordinate)
12pm Sweet Spot Festival @ Jackie Robinson Park Bandshell, Harlem/Sugar Hill no staff contact- please coordinate)
12-2pm Green Flea Columbus Avenue between W. 76th and W. 77th Streets (Kristina)
1:30pm to 2:30pm Park Slope Co-op @ 782 Union St Brooklyn, NY 11215 (Jasmin)
3-5pm Montague BID fifth annual SummerSpace Event @ Clinton & Henry Streets - between Henry and Hicks (Peter)
3-5pm 37th Annual Columbus Ave Festival btwn 66th & 86th (Kristina)
5:30-7pm Fairway on B'way btwn 74th & 75th Sts. (Kristina)
Monday, Sept. 23rd: 5-7pm UWS Whole Foods 808 Columbus @ 97th St. (Kristina)
Tuesday, Sept. 24th: Public Advocate Debate-- Rally @ 6pm, NY1 75 Ninth Ave., Manhattan
To pick up materials, please go to 895 Broadway, 5th Floor in Manhattan. Literature and posters will be available in ALL locations starting THURSDAY evening.
Phone-banking Starts THURSDAY at 895 Broadway, 5th Floor (9am-8pm) or at NY Communities for Change- 2-4 Nevins St., second floor in Brooklyn (5-9pm). RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manhattan- 895 Broadway, 5th Fl. Between 19th and 20th Sts. (primary office)
Brooklyn- 401 Tompkins Ave. (VIDA office) Peter Williams email@example.com
2-4 Nevins St., third floor (Working Families Party) Jasmin Oppenheimer firstname.lastname@example.org
Bronx: 1640 Eastchester Rd (Bronx County Dems) Timothy Tapia email@example.com
Upper Manhattan: 190 W. 135th St. (Frederick Samuels Democratic Club office) firstname.lastname@example.org
Staten Island: 829 Castelton Ave. Shanda Taylor email@example.com
Queens: Adrienne Felton firstname.lastname@example.org 646-896-5633
Please let your friends, family and neighbors know about this election and why they should vote for Tish. Consider sending a “friends and neighbors” email; if you’re interested in doing this, I will have the campaign’s recommended text (which you can feel free to amend or embroider) available tomorrow, Thursday: kosmail me to receive it.
• if you live in New York City, you can do all the above, and you can vote. Please mark your calendar for October 1; I guarantee you’re not going to get much in the way of reminders from the media.